Interior of garage with functional clear storage cabinets, two bikes hanging on wall and various storage solutions featured in matching blue and white tones with plenty of room for two cars to park.

Your Guide To Garage Ideas For Storage And Organization

Michelle Giorlando8-Minute Read
May 10, 2022

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If you’re fortunate enough to have a garage, your garage is likely home to many different things, including, occasionally, your car. Your garage may have inadvertently turned into a catch-all space for sports equipment, bikes, seasonal decor, gardening tools and possibly every cardboard box you’ve gotten a package delivery in. If storage systems aren’t put in place, your garage can quickly become a mess. Read our tips and tricks for garage ideas that will enhance your storage space.

Simple Garage Ideas

Even if you don’t want to spend the time and money to remodel your garage, there are simple things that you can do to improve your garage space.

Decluttering

Young woman organizing boxes of items on shelving in her garage with a bike hanging in the foreground.

The first thing that you should do is declutter your space. A clear space will give you easy access to the things that you actually use. There are a range of strategies available to help with decluttering, including the KonMari Method.

Now’s the time to pull out all the equipment and every box and bin and empty out the contents. It’s helpful to sort everything into piles of similar items, so you see exactly what you own. This will help you decide what to keep and what you can get rid of. You might find you own six basketballs and could easily get rid of three or four!

It’s also a good time to honestly reflect on any old hobbies or interests with equipment that might be taking up valuable space. Is your inline skating phase over? If you’ve got kids, involve them in this process, too. Let them sort their outdoor toys and sports equipment, and they can help make decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of.

Garbage or items that are damaged by critters, moldy or otherwise beyond repair should go directly into the trash or recycling bin. Set aside other items that are still usable but not needed by you.

Once you’re all done sorting and purging your items, you’ll be left with piles of the things you’re keeping. This will give you a clear idea of what kinds of storage and organization solutions you’ll need.

Make a plan

The garage is emptied out, the items inside are sorted and expunged, so now it’s time to make a plan. Here, you’ll map out a floor plan of your garage and have an idea of where you want everything to go. You can do this mentally or physically. Try drawing the space out and use a tape measure to make sure you’re using the space efficiently. You’ll want to do this before you start buying organization solutions, so you’ll know exactly what you need.

Consider the things you’ll use more often, such as a lawnmower or bicycle, versus more seasonal items, like holiday decorations or camping equipment. Organize the space so your often-used items are more easily accessible. And if you’re planning to park your car in there (a novel idea!), make sure you leave plenty of room for it. Plan to store similar items together, so that, for example, all your gardening supplies are at hand when you need them. This also can help you keep track of what you own and what you need to replace as it gets used up, in the case of items like potting soil or lawn torch citronella.

As you work on your map, think about accounting for bulkier items like your car and lawnmower first, and then organize the smaller items around those. Map out zones in the garage for easy access such as lawn care area, sports equipment area, or cleaning area. The most important takeaway from the floor plan mapping is that there’s a place for everything. Having a specific place to store each item can help your garage remain clutter-free. And remember to go vertical to maximize space!

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Garage Improvement Ideas

There are many ways to upgrade or renovate a garage to make it more functional and increase home value. If you are not confident doing projects yourself, you should always ask for help from a professional. Here are a few garage products that might add value to your home.

Flooring upgrade

Modern light grey garage flooring look.

Redoing the flooring in your garage can instantly give it a high-end look. The most common type of garage flooring upgrade is done using epoxy for a durable and clean finish. This is a doable DIY project using kits from the hardware store but can also be hired out and done in a day by professionals.

Locks and security

Garage with dual roller doors and security lighting details.

Investing in door and window locks for security can be a great idea, especially if you have expensive tools or items that you are storing in your garage. It’s usually easiest to have a single security system that flows throughout your entire home, including your garage.

Lighting and electrical

Modern garage with hanging garage lighting.

Upgrading lighting and electrical systems can be a great way to make the space more usable. Consider your uses for the space and plan accordingly. If you do a lot of woodworking or maker-type projects, you might want bright task lighting. If you use the space to play ping pong or hang out, string lights could give a great aesthetic. Finally, consider adding special plugs or outlets for a refrigerator, washer and dryer, or electric car charging, if needed.

Update the garage door

Modern dark grey garage door.

Replacing the garage door is a great way to boost curb appeal, improve energy efficiency, and possibly improve the security in your garage space. Look for doors that flow with the rest of your exterior but also have added features, like built-in insulation, for the best bang for your buck.

Need extra cash for home improvement?

Use your home equity for a cash-out refinance.

NMLS #3030

Garage Storage Ideas

Here are some ideas to consider as you map out your storage plan and start the actual organization process. These garage storage ideas will help make a garage feel more spacious and organized.

1. Open Shelving

Deep white open shelving with clear bins with roller blades and other athletic gear on lower shelf and tool cases on the top shelf.

Using vertical space will help your garage organization immensely. Open shelving can free up a lot of room on your garage floor and offer more versatility than closed cabinets. You can store bulkier equipment directly on the shelves and store smaller items in bins. This allows you to see exactly what you’ve got.

There are many different styles of shelves that can help you to use space more efficiently. This includes corner shelves, floating shelves, and even shelves that hang down from the ceiling. Also pay attention to the materials of the shelving units. If your garage floods or gets damp, bypass the wooden shelves, and choose plastic or metal ones.

2. Pegboards

White pegboard with hooks for tools and small clear bins for miscellaneous nails and screws.

Pegboards are a great way to take advantage of the vertical space on your garage walls and to keep small, frequently used items well organized. Pegboards are especially great for storing and displaying smaller hand tools and garden tools. While wooden pegboards are traditional, there are also metal pegboards available that are even more durable and weather-proof than the wooden versions.

Much like a pegboard for larger items, creating a tool rack allows you to see what you’ve got and gives you easy access. You can even use pegboard for a cohesive, customizable look. Another excellent option is to use a magnetic strip, so your tools can hang securely. If you’re looking to level up your tool rack even more, consider painting or drawing an outline around each tool so it’s clear which tool lives in each space.

3. Storage Racks

High end garage remodel featuring stainless steel features with hanging open shelving and cabinets.

Your garage’s ceiling is another not-to-be-missed storage space. You can install hanging shelves from the joists or use the joists themselves as shelves. Because it’s a sometimes-literal pain to get things down and put away from ceiling shelves, use this storage space for bulkier items that you don’t use often, such as holiday decorations, spare bins, camping gear or baby equipment. It’s an excellent place to store ladders, too, as long as you have a way to retrieve the ladder and avoid a cartoonish situation.

4. Wall space

Mounted wall simple yard tools storage solution for garage.

Another optimal use of vertical space in your garage is with a wall organizer. Remember to create zones and to group like items together. Using a pegboard and hooks allows you to customize spaces to hang many kinds of things on the walls. Plus, it’s very easy to install and rearrange as needed. Use hooks to hang large items like shovels, rakes, tire pumps and brooms. Hang lightweight kids’ toys low to the ground for easy access and hang seasonal items high and out of the way.

5. Cabinets

Interior of a garage with windows and attractive matching storage cabinets. Red bicycle is stored against wall.

Cabinets are a great option to help with garage organization and to match the aesthetic inside your house. Cabinets are great if you want to have a built-in area to serve as a mudroom space. Cabinets can also be great paired with a worktop for a beautiful and functional workspace. The benefits of cabinets include closed storage that conceals mess and keeps items clean. Plus, cabinets are beautiful and can give your garage a very high-end look compared to racks or shelving.

For a money-saving DIY project, you can also use old kitchen cabinets from your recent or future kitchen remodel.

6. Workbenches

Woman patting her white dog in her garage workshop, perched on her workbench.

A workbench can be a great addition to any garage space. A dedicated space to do any messy DIY projects allows you to keep the rest of the house and garage clear of debris. It also lets you leave a project and come back to it easily. A workbench gives you a great place to store all the small things that come with owning tools, such as jars of nails, zip ties and tape measures.

If you’ve got the space, a permanent workbench is a great asset. If your garage space is limited but you still want the benefits of a workbench, consider one that folds down from the wall or one on wheels. Pair a workbench with wall storage so you can easily work and all of your frequently used tools right at hand.

7. Bins And Baskets

Wooden open shelving in garage with easy to open storage bins next to a folded ladder leaning against wall.

Storage bins are one of the most versatile solutions you can implement in your garage. When shopping for bins, it’s important to consider the material of the bin, the color of the bin (including opaque versus transparent), and the style of the bin. Note if the bins will have lids, be open on top, or be drawer style.

Clear plastic bins with lids allow you to contain many items together and let you see exactly what’s inside. They’re modular so they stack easily. Whether you’re stacking them freehand or on a shelving unit, think about the order in which you’re stacking them. Have the bins that you’ll need to access frequently on top or on the easiest-to-reach shelves.

Bins with lids will almost always be best for garage use. Closed lid storage will help to keep your things clean and dry. Plastic stacking bins are also a good way to prevent mustiness, mold and nibbling critters from getting into your stuff. All bins can be labeled easily so that you – or anyone else – can easily find what you are looking for in your space.

The Bottom Line

The beauty of garage organization (aside from gaining an organized garage!) is that you can scale it up or down to fit your situation. You don’t need fancy equipment or an entire week – you can do it in a weekend with inexpensive materials. Your two main steps are to have an idea of where each item should live, and to declutter any unnecessary items on the way. How you organize your space is up to you, whether you use vertical space or just stack bins on the floor.

If you are ready to get started, consider a home improvement loan to help with your garage project.

Need extra cash for home improvement?

Use your home equity for a cash-out refinance.

NMLS #3030

Michelle Giorlando

Michelle Giorlando is a freelance writer who lives in metro Detroit. When she's not writing about homeownership, finances, and mortgages, she enjoys performing improv, gardening, and befriending the wildlife in her yard.